Stacey Amagrande and Joe Bastianich
Greg Gayne/FOX; Michael Lavine/FOX
07/03/2012 at 08:00 AM EDT
On Monday's episode of MasterChef
, our top 12 contestants faced off in another team challenge in Venice Beach, Calif. Venice Beach may be L.A.'s most laid back neighborhood, but that does not mean the locals don't take their food seriously – food trucks are huge here! With Stacey being the big winner from last week
, she was given advantageous task of splitting her fellow competitors into three groups of four, and showed us that she came to play.
I've got to hand it to Stacey. She's taking the competition seriously and has really stepped up these last few weeks – not bad for someone who initially didn't get past the audition round. Her strategy was sharp and cunning, and for the most part, her plan paid off. I love how she did whatever it took to get more people in her line – it ultimately secured her team the win, and tells me she can hack it in the real world of running a restaurant. For me, she's become a top contender.
Where Stacey is one to watch for all the right reasons, David Martinez is turning into a prime example of what not
to do. I've said it over and over again – working in this industry requires teamwork. If you can't be an efficient member in a productive kitchen, you have no place here.
And where was Monti's temper when we truly needed it? This was her day to explode, not back at the Radisson. David can deny it all he wants, but it's all on tape baby – the yellow team was sans burgers for the first 15 minutes of the challenge, and guess who was in charge of cooking them. Watching him attempt to weasel out it was cringe worthy. I wish the footage of customers demanding new burgers wasn't left on the cutting room floor. Of course David said he made a high number of burgers – he had to remake a number of them after putting the first ones out raw! At this stage of the game it was really inexcusable for the judges to have to work the crowd in line for burgers, practically begging them not to leave.
Anna's disbelief in her team's loss was also little unsettling. She's a kind and sweet person, and puts out some amazing dishes, but a leader she isn't. I'm sure it wasn't easy with Baby Huey behind the grill, but a leader can't be afraid to get tough and take control, and her inability to do so paved the way for her departure.
The journey continues Tuesday (9 p.m. ET) on Fox as our remaining 11 home cooks face another mystery-box challenge
– and the pressure of cooking alongside a Michelin Star Chef! Thanks for reading! And for more inside insights, follow @jbastianich